safe: learning to trust when life feels unsafe



My childhood didn’t fully prepare me to trust or feel safe and secure in the ways I might have hoped it would. But it did lead me to seek for ways to lighten the darkness in my child-heart by enjoying the simple pleasures of life, like blowing bubbles or chasing butterflies.

Not all of the methods I chose were actually safe or helpful, until God shone the light of His presence into my life and I was undone in the best possible way. Because up to then, love had been far from easy, unconditional, lavish or free.

Life can feel less than safe in this dark world,  as I still wrestle with demons from my past and deal with myriad challenges in the present. Yet my hope and faith are safe, secure, resting on God’s redemption, goodness and grace, His wild, wild Love and forgiveness that covers all my sin, and His broken heart for a suffering world.

In thinking about the word ‘safe’ for this week’s five-minute-friday prompt, several things suggested themselves. There was even a first attempt poem that didn’t quite feel right, though it may well get shared another day.

I am so grateful God is a God of second chances—as well as second thoughts—and how He has provided this alternative poetic offering unexpectedly today, albeit a bit later than planned.


The watery womb was my home

I nestled close, listening to thrum

of human heartbeat, soothed again

by its sweet refrain rhythm


And as I stretched my limbs

I sensed the confines of this space

gradually closing in


It was time—time to be born

before my time to die—time

to breathe, live outside this home


I sensed movement, tightening

and squeezing. It didn’t seem safe

but I trusted to my fate


Then a soft night light shone warmly

on my screwed up face. My eyes had grown

unaccustomed to the Light


Hands groped for my body, held me

tight, as lovingly as can be, cradled

me safe, welcomed me to life


And I knew, instinctively, despite

how different this would be, how hard

my Father was still holding me


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28 thoughts on “safe: learning to trust when life feels unsafe

    • Laurie, your replies always leave me speechless at your poetic perception and understanding! Yes, this is true of those lines which “so rightly the capstone of your poem. Your life.” For without God’s “enduring embrace” our lives would be all the poorer. I’m so thankful He found me, long before I might have thought to search for Him. Bless you for being here, my friend, you bring such a richness to this community. xo

    • Hello Kathy, what a JOY to see you here, my friend! I totally agree with your words: “The Unseen Hand is still guiding our fragile lives.” Amen! It’s a great pleasure to hear from you, though I am saddened at the thought of life’s struggles keeping you from being as present to keeping connected as you would like to be. How are things with your parents now? I’m not on Facebook much these days and may have missed your latest news. I hope and pray you will continue to be strengthened in every way and find a small window of opportunity to be creative and write your beautiful poetry again. God bless you and be with you and yours. xo ❤

  1. Dear Joy,
    This is beautiful on so many levels! God knew what I needed to hear tonight, and your words have touched my heart so much. The song is one that holds special meaning in my family, and your poem stirs my heart since new birth is so recent in our family also! The new birth of a little baby is such a powerful reminder of the New Birth that our Father gives us through Jesus, and you have captured that thought so well. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing here, my Friend! Hugs and Love to you! xo

    • Dear Bettie, I’m so glad to have been able to stir your heart! Each poem comes like an unexpected gift of grace. I don’t plan what to write but God knows what needs to be shared and when. This song is deeply meaningful for me too, and it’s lovely to hear it’s also special to you and your family! Hope you had a wonderful time with the new baby. Yes, spiritual new birth is magnified by seeing new life before our eyes! Such hope and joy wrapped infant-tight, brim full of potential just waiting to be unwrapped. Blessings and hugs to you, my friend! xo 😊 💜

  2. I love the photo, Joy. Is that your twin sister? Does she live close by? You have a brother, too? Blowing bubbles and chasing butterflies are fun memories. 🙂 Did you ever catch fireflies? We put them in a jar and went into my parents’ dark closet and watched them. 🙂 Then we let them go again.

    These lines especially comfort me:
    “And I knew, instinctively, despite
    how different this would be, how hard
    my Father was still holding me”
    He’s still holding us, my friend, even in those times when we don’t feel it. Have a blessed week! Hugs!

    • Yes, it is, Trudy. Did our identical outfits give the game away by any chance?! She lives about a half hour drive away but it might as well be several hours for the number of times we manage to meet up. The boy in the photo is actually our nephew, though we grew up thinking we were cousins. Our family is a bit complicated! I’ve no memory of catching fireflies, though we may call them something else here in the UK. It does sound like fun. 😊
      I’m thankful you found some words to comfort you here, my friend. It is a lovely thought to realise how God is always holding us, keeping us safe from further harm, and long before we ever knew Him. Even if we don’t feel it, His Word tells us it is so and faith helps us believe it. Have a blessed week yourself. Blessings and hugs to you! xo 💜

  3. ❤️ this: “His wild, wild Love and forgiveness that covers all my sin, and His broken heart for a suffering world.” Such beautiful imagery. I can see that wildness.
    Have a great week!
    Shauna (“fashionably late” in FMF#96) 🙂

    • Hello Shauna, it’s lovely to meet you! “Fashionably late” describes me well in most things, so I am smiling at your words. Thanks very much for your sweet comment. I’m so pleased you can relate to the wildness of God’s love. It seems that way to me, just as grace seems pretty scandalous, all things considered. Hope to pop by your site before Friday rolls round again. If energy and time are available, I love reading other FMF participants’ take on the word prompt. Bless you for stopping by, my friend! 😊

  4. Wow, Joy. This is incredibly powerful. I’m so sorry for your lack of safety as a child. How I wish that could have been different for you. To see the ways you are reaching for life — as you always have — is such evidence of God in and through you. Bless you, friend.

    • Ashley, it’s lovely to see you here, my friend! I so appreciate you stopping by and your sweet and gracious response to my vulnerable post. When I wrote the poem I actually had Jesus in mind, viewing Him in the womb preparing to be born and getting ready to face all of life’s pain and uncertainties. But I didn’t indicate that this was the thrust of the poem, because I think poetry should speak soul to soul and be interpreted without too much information being given! I am so thankful for God’s mercy and grace on a daily basis, and the way He has encouraged my heart today by your kind words. Thank you! May you and your loved ones have a blessed weekend. xo

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